Colchester Borough Council response to questions about its drones policy

I’ll post this here without comment but I expect others might have some observations? Some points though:

  1. I already knew there were no bylaws from another guy’s earlier FOI request, so I didn’t ask them about bylaws.
  2. I very specifically did not ask about their prohibition on drones on or from council land; I asked about flying above council land, the phrase included in their drones policy.

Thank you for contacting Colchester Borough Council with your Freedom of Information request regarding: Legal basis for prohibiting drones
overflying council land.

We do hold the information you have requested and it has been provided in
this email. Additional comments (if any) can be found below:

  1. What is the legal basis for the Council’s published policy of not
    allowing UAS/UAV/drones to fly “above council land" without permission
    from the Council? Are any UAS Geographical Zones or other types of
    restricted airspace in force, in accordance with Civil Aviation Authority
    regulations as set out in CAP 722C UAS Airspace Restrictions Guidance and Policy?

There are no current Byelaws prohibiting flying of Drones on Council land
however the Council has a Policy which covers usage of Drones on Council
Land. The Council is entitled to determine what happens on its land in
accordance with any adopted policy as the landowner.

There are no UAS Geographical Zones or other types of restricted airspace
in force currently although the policy notes Civil Aviation Authority
guidance specifying that drones must not be flown within 50m from people, vehicles and buildings and/or over congested areas.

[1]https://cbccrmdata.blob.core.windows.net…

  1. Is the Council reviewing its policy to bring it into line with current
    UK legislation, especially with regard to drones that have a mass of less
    than 250g?

The Council has not yet reviewed its’ [sic] policy in respect of the December
2020 legislation due to other higher priorities

Kind regards
Customer Information, Colchester Borough Council


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So, from that I understand it this way. Our policy doesn’t and cannot restrict flying over our land but does make reference to the outdated CAA regulation regarding flying within 50m of people and buildings. Until such time as we get around to understanding the new CAA regulations for sub 250gm UAV’s we’ll keep trotting out this policy to anyone that asks but doesn’t understand that it’s not really enforceable anymore :smiley:

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:man_shrugging:

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As a newbie in this area with a new DJI Mini 2, my understanding of the latest legislation, is that the council can prohibit drones flying from its land (as the landowner) but not overflying. The latter is the responsibility of the CAA as they control the airspace.

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Yes they can but only by use of a relevant bylaw or PSPO. Not being a private entity (person or company) the public have automatic right of access to publicly (council) owned land unless specifically stated otherwise (parks at certain times, SSSI, wildlife parks etc and if they do want you off a piece of their land that have no such restrictions in place the trespass laws for them are somewhat different to the ones used by you or I. It’s actually quite difficult to be trespassed from public land as its a civil case and the police cannot get involved unless a breach of the peace has or is likely to happen and merely being on the land isn’t enough to be trespassed off of it, unlike being on privately owned land.

End of the day it’s in everyones interest to work with the local authorities whilst at the same time making it plain you know your legal rights and what you can and can’t do.